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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2024
  2. afe reinforcement learning (RL) aims to learn policies that satisfy certain constraints before deploying them to safety-critical applications. Previous primal-dual style approaches suffer from instability issues and lack optimality guarantees. This paper overcomes the issues from the perspective of probabilistic inference. We introduce a novel Expectation-Maximization approach to naturally incorporate constraints during the policy learning: 1) a provable optimal non-parametric variational distribution could be computed in closed form after a convex optimization (E-step); 2) the policy parameter is improved within the trust region based on the optimal variational distribution (M-step). The proposed algorithm decomposes the safe RL problem into a convex optimization phase and a supervised learning phase, which yields a more stable training performance. A wide range of experiments on continuous robotic tasks shows that the proposed method achieves significantly better constraint satisfaction performance and better sample efficiency than baselines. The code is available at 
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